LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 - Xbox 360

Game Description:LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 will give gamers the chance to experience the magic and adventure of Harry Potter in a new and uniquely LEGO way. Playing as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, as well as other favorite characters, gamers will have the opportunity to attend lessons, cast spells, mix potions, fly on broomsticks and complete tasks to earn house points. Throughout the game, players will also have the freedom to explore iconic settings from the wizarding world including Hogwarts castle, Diagon Alley, the Forbidden Forest and the village of Hogsmeade!
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LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 Hands-On Preview

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 Hands-On Preview

By Patrick Klepek - Posted Jun 08, 2010

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

It's been five years since LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game surprised the hell out of everyone, but after a LEGO version of Indiana Jones, Batman, another dip into Indiana Jones and, uh, more Star Wars, we're finally getting a block-by-block interpretation of The Boy Who Lived, even though Harry Potter's obsession with magic makes it seem incredibly obvious. I recently had a chance to see how well they integrate after going hands-on with LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4.

The game follows the first four years of J.K. Rowling's story, saving the rest for what's logical to assume is another game chronicling the other three years. There's plenty for Traveller's Tales to work with, though, and all the LEGO traditions are here in spades, which means if you don't already know the Harry Potter tale, nothing here is going to make sense. The LEGO version of exposition is quick and witty cut-scenes with absolutely no dialogue; everything is communicated via sight gags whose punch line is only visible to fans who can fill in the dots. Since Harry Potter is a nice mix of darkness, fantasy and fun, the formula works really well here.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

LEGO Star Wars was wonderful because the Force let the designers set up hilarious situations for players to interact with. LEGO Indiana Jones had trouble because that element was lost, while LEGO Batman was able to mostly side-step it with copious gadgets. LEGO Harry Potter lets Traveller's Tales play with magic again, but ironically, magic may be causing more issues than it solves. One of the great joys of the LEGO games is futzing with everything around you, hoping for another splurge of colorful studs. On every screen in Harry Potter, there are what feels like hundreds of areas to poke around in. Not only can the variety be overwhelming, but simply getting the game to focus on a specific area for interaction proved unnecessarily difficult. For those who desire nothing more than an endless stream of collect-a-thon possibilities, this may be a total dream.

I'm not someone who obsesses over collecting everything, however, so while zeroing in on a particular object was frustrating, it gave way to simply pushing forward, collecting whatever was obvious and moving on, which is how I've played every other LEGO game. Plus, it just meant I quickly returned to running around the fleshed-out Hogwarts, aka the coolest hub world ever.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

With access to four years of Potter, variety shouldn't be an issue in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4. I worry a lack of limitations in the universe itself may have pushed Traveller's Tales to play too much with the game's interactivity, but there's only a few weeks to see if that holds true.

Comments are Closed

  • JOKERNJ732

    while this is the best lego game IMO to come out SINCE the star wars games there were a couple spots i had some trouble. mainly there was a part where you are made to build a staircase out of legos using magic but sometimes the blocks just wouldnt lock in or the magic would grab the wrong block taking one out of place that i just struggled to put there. this aside the lego games have never looked so polished and i am quite curious to see all the different characters and what powers they have. also with this game you see the dark side stuff brought back where you need to be a villian to open areas. i didnt really play the batman but im sure it was there but i didnt see any on this in indiana jones and i think its things like this that really encourage you to go back for a second play if you really wanna do everything. plus getting to play as voldemort should be freakin' awesome.

    Posted: June 8, 2010 1:54 PM
  • shafnitz

    I played this with my wife last night and I came to the exact same conclusion. There's way too much happening on screen, it makes things much more difficult than they need to be.

    Posted: June 8, 2010 10:07 AM
  • Crock-a-duck Enthusiast

    Fill in the dots Patrick? Are we mixing our metaphors this mornign? Ah-ha, Now the table's on the other foot! I'm looking forward to playing this with my girl when it comes out at the end of the month. We play them all together (except Iny 2). Cheers Brother.

    Posted: June 8, 2010 9:15 AM